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MVP Design On A Budget – 3 Hacks To Win Investor Pitches

Ilia Kiselevich is an entrepreneur with a keen eye for emerging technologies and a deep understanding of market dynamics committed to transforming ideas into reality.

Executive Contributor Ilia Kiselevich

When you're laser-focused on raising funds for your MVP, you mainly concentrate on the development side of things. Questions like what features to include and how long it will take to bring the product to market are usually the main concerns. That makes sense, right? After all, most startup owners are working within tight budgets.

Startup team brainstorming or collaborating on a design prototype.

But here's the thing: When you're in this hustle, UI/UX design often takes a back seat, or it's not even on the radar. And that's a common trap many software enthusiasts fall into.

Do you know that 52% of users mention poor design as the primary reason they won't return to an app? In other words, you should never underestimate the power of design, especially when you're a startup building an MVP.

So, let's break it down then. In this piece, we'll explore how to handle MVP design smartly to attract investors and users. I’ll walk you through the essential steps to help you achieve the intended outcomes.

UI/UX matters, hands down

Let's start with the fact that UI/UX must BE – вelivering an MVP isn't just a bare-bones demo. It is an unacceptable luxury to overlook quality design in a time when app stores offer 5.4 million choices to users.

Let's face it: People (both users and stakeholders) judge quickly. Precisely, you have about 7 seconds to make the first impression. Even though a mediocre design might seem like a quick solution to save time and money, it won’t create the first impression that bursts excitement.

Given the tough market competition, you should treat MVP design seriously.

Tip 1: Focus on features that validate your hypothesis

While prioritizing features for iterative product development in the context of MVP conception is clear, what about design? Follow the same principle: give preference only to features that validate the hypothesis of your business idea. Let me explain further.

There are basic elements your MVP can't do without: registration forms, critical states, review forms, and more. But there's no need to go overboard with fancy decorations, animations, or complex UX.

Say, you’re planning to launch an MVP of a travel app. If you indulge in extra embellishment in the FAQ section, will you change anything? Your users won't remember you specifically for the "out-of-the-ordinary" motion effect in the drop-down menu of help items. It's more vital to concentrate on crafting a captivating UI/UX experience for core features such as an innovative itinerary planner or a user-friendly booking system — exactly they are making the difference.

Friendly advice: If you're unsure whether a feature deserves the time and money for design, ask yourself this: if I remove everything else, can this feature ALONE sell my MVP to investors? If not, rethink your priorities.

Tip 2: Maintain brand consistency from the start

Even at the MVP stage, you lay the groundwork for brand identity. In fact, branding is a way of communicating with customers on an emotional level. Let’s be honest: The Mercedes Me app would unlikely maintain the premium feel without its consistent brand design.

That's why it's crucial to maintain consistency and relevance in design elements like style, images, fonts, and colors. For example, in the case of a healthcare startup app, establishing trust is crucial. However, the use of acidic pink and cartoonish titles does not contribute to building it.

Moreover, it's essential to uphold consistency across various platforms. Studies show that a unified brand presentation can boost revenues by 23%. Therefore, when you go live with your MVP, it's crucial to make a splash in the market – that's possible only by having well-thought-out marketing strategy across different channels.

And here, UI kit serves as the foundation for marketing materials, so ensure that your website, ad banners, and social media visuals align with your MVP's look. Otherwise, you risk incurring additional costs and confusing users if you have to redo visuals later on.

Make a prototype

Now that we've emphasized the importance of MVP design, let's delve into another critical aspect: prototyping. It’s quite common that many entrepreneurs simply overlook the prototype phase.

Some startups may feel overly confident in their design vision, rushing to implement it right into an MVP. Others attempt to explain their concepts without any visuals, just with words alone. However, neither approach is convincing enough to foster positive relationships with potential investors.

Think of a prototype as a sneak peek at your product but without a full release. It offers the opportunity to validate your concept, explore various features, and pinpoint potential issues early on. Furthermore, a prototype provides valuable insight for potential investors to evaluate the viability of your idea and decide whether it’s worth investing in.

Being a realistic simulation of your product, a prototype allows users and stakeholders to navigate different screens and experience the intended user journey. This hands-on interaction facilitates a deeper understanding of your product's potential and functionality.

Tip 1: Choose your design tools wisely

As I mentioned before, not all tools have powerful prototyping capabilities. F. i, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are primarily focused on graphic design and image editing, respectively, rather than being dedicated to prototyping. They can still be utilized to create static mockups or design assets that can be imported into tools like Figma, Adobe XD, or Sketch for further interaction design. But why waste more resources if you can make the right choice from the very start?

Tip 2: Gather feedback during the prototyping

Prototyping is not a one-time task; it's an iterative process of validating your concept and ensuring its viability. Use the prototype as a means to gather valuable insights from users, stakeholders, and potential investors.

During this phase, actively seek feedback on the usability, intuitiveness, and overall user experience of your product. Pay attention to any pain points, confusion, or suggestions for improvement that emerge to increase your chances of creating a user-centered product that resonates with your target audience.

Create a pitch deck

Imagine walking into a room full of potential investors, brimming with excitement about your MVP. But how do you convince them to back your project? You need to create a pitch deck.

Simply put, a pitch deck is a presentation that outlines the key aspects of your business venture: from its core concept and technical features to its strategic vision and revenue model. It should cover not only the MVP itself but also critical business elements such as target audience, unique selling points, competitive analysis, and financial projections.

You really can't underestimate the importance of a pitch deck. A well-crafted demo helps you communicate your business idea persuasively, making investors understand the potential impact of your MVP.

Tip 1: Keep it clear yet catchy

Investors get bombarded with pitches every day. Aim for 10-15 slides that deliver a clear and focused message. Firstly, use storytelling to engage the listener. Weave your product into a compelling narrative that highlights the problem you solve and the value you offer.

Secondly, сompetition for investor attention is only getting tougher. According to statistics, the average viewing time for a pitch deck is 3 minutes and 20 seconds. That's why it's crucial for you to include all the necessary content while simplifying its perception: infographics instead of text, clear language, one idea per screen, and readability.

Tip 2: Make the most of your resources

So, you're either starting or planning to start your MVP development. That means you had a discovery phase for your project or are going to, and the completeness and accuracy of its results are crucial for the success of a pitch deck, as it encompasses essential business data exactly collected at this stage.

Friendly advice: Such turnkey MVP development vendors can also handle the design aspect, meaning they can develop the pitch deck as well by leveraging the project requirements within the whole team. Wouldn't this be a flesh-royal for your fundraising efforts?

Bottom line: MVP design

When it comes to impressing investors, you have only one shot. You can create an affordable MVP with a variety of features and overlook the design, which can negatively impact the future of your project. Alternatively, you can allocate the same budget to three design aspects mentioned above, which guarantee you the opportunity to stand out when seeking financing.

To really nail all MVP design aspects outlined in this post, it's not just about making things look pretty. You need to conduct a thorough discovery of market trends and competition to figure out how to make your product stand out. Teaming up with a reliable provider can really make a difference in getting your design to work for your business goals.

So, allocating your initial budget wisely can help you avoid reworking your MVP later. Otherwise, you risk pouring money into a low-quality product that will need fixing. After all, it's true what they say: the miser pays twice.


Ilia Kiselevich, CEO & Founder of SolveIt

CEO & Founder of SolveIt – a mobile development company, entrepreneur and product owner of HBT. Ilia Kiselevich is an entrepreneur with a keen eye for emerging technologies and a deep understanding of market dynamics committed to transforming ideas into reality. Under Ilia's guidance, SolveIt has garnered recognition for its remarkable quality of delivered solutions, award-winning UX/UI design, and 100% customer satisfaction score.



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